Members of the Munshi-South lab at Baruch College, CUNY are interested in the behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary impacts of large-scale human disturbance on wild vertebrate populations. Current lab projects are primarily focused on understanding the evolutionary implications of urbanization for wildlife in New York City. We study urban populations as model systems of rapid microevolution, but also aim to provide data for urban conservation and restoration efforts. To this end we collaborate with local government agencies and non-profits. See the lab Research and Publications pages for more information on current and past projects. The TED ED video below gives a brief introduction for non-scientists.
NEWS & NOTESMay 2013
Announcing new project on the cityscape genomics of NYC rats! See our guest blog post on Rob Dunn's "Your Wild Life" blog describing the project in preparation for the upcoming working group on domestic and urban evolution at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center.
Brittney Kajdacsi was awarded a 3-year, $15k fellowship from the Mianus River Gorge Research Assistantship Program to conduct her dissertation research on landscape genomics of urban and suburban stream salamanders!
Preprint posted on rapid evolution of the transcriptome of urban white-footed mice. All constructive criticism appreciated! Also see Carl Zimmer's coverage of this work on his NatGeo Phenomena blog.
New paper on conservation genetics of dusky salamanders in NYC published in PeerJ.
Photo: Ellen Pehek
Jason is participating in an iLAB residency with artists Huong Ngo, Fantastic Futures, and Sonia Finley. The residency is funded by iLAND to promote collaboration between movement-based artists and environmental scientists. This residency will involve public outreach and performance events this Summer at dates to be determined.
First-year PhD student Brittney Kajdacsi joined the lab! Over the past 3 years she worked on multiple conservation genetics projects as a student at Yale University. At CUNY she will be investigating the land- and stream-scape genomics of urban stream salamanders in NYC.
Jason published an Op-Ed in the NY Daily News opposing the development of public space in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for sports stadia and a shopping mall.
The New York Times' Green blog drew upon the lab's expertise for a post about the fate of urban wildlife after Hurricane Sandy.
Jason spoke about urban evolutionary biology at the Secret Science Club, held monthly at the Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn. (click here for article)
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
The lab received a 3-year, $200K grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS / NIH) to examine natural selection, gene expression, and landscape genomics of urban white-footed mice.
The lab, in collaboration with Jessica Schuler at the NY Botanical Garden, began a camera trapping study in the native woodlands as part of their "Natural History of the NYBG" project. See this post on the NYBG blog for a slideshow of highlights from the first month!
Undergrad researcher and graduating senior Julie Sesina wins the Arnold Picker Award for Excellence in Arts & Sciences! Congratulations Julie!
TED launches their TEDEd website. TEDEd talks can be augmented with quizzes and thought exercises for use in "flipping" your classroom (see Jason's TEDEd talk here on their new site).